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I will be the first to admit that Google + is not the easiest site to use — at least until you get in there and spend some time hanging out. At first I thought that it was clunky, confusing, and not very useful..

If this is how you feel, please know that I was there too. My advice to you is, don’t quit! Continue to fight through it because it should be a part of your insurance agency marketing strategy.. A lot has changed since Google+ first rolled out and I’m very happy that I stuck with it. There have been vast improvements to the UI and it’s now much easier to use, understand, and maneuver through..

There are around 700 million Google+ users – hardly an insignificant number. It hasn’t caught up with Facebook, but it’s still an enormous number with an awful lot of opportunities for us agents. This is Google we’re talking about here so it’s safe to assume that number is NOT going to stop growing any time soon and, before too long, it will outgrow Facebook. It’s only a matter of time!

Let me give you 3 amazing reasons why your agency needs to have Google + in its social media strategy.

SEO – enough said. I don’t care if Matt Cutts, or any other SEO guru, says that Google doesn’t use +1′s in their search algorithm. He also says social signals in general don’t count but there is so much evidence to the contrary that it’s not really believable, at least not to me. Regardless, there are so many other benefits we know about for a fact. If one of your followers on Google+ does a search while logged into their account they will see your Google Plus posts in their search results- that is very powerful.

A post that doesn’t rank normally may be in your follower’s first page search results- that too is very powerful. That simply means the more Google followers you have on Google+, the more potential exposure you have before your insurance agency is on the network itself and in search results. Just for SEO alone your agency needs to be in the world of Google +.

Extremely High Post Engagement. Many people and agencies consistently get higher post engagement on Google+ than on Facebook. Why? Because of algorithms, along with Facebook’s “pay to play” stance. You can have a higher post engagement at a much lower cost thanks to Google+.

That is even more so the case now, given Facebook’s recent News Feed changes. Only a very small percentage of your Facebook audience sees your posts now that they have gone to the “pay to play” model.  Facebook wants you to pay money through Promoted Posts to reach a wider audience. Google+ does not do that and we hope that it stays that way. Also, Google Plus allows post formatting, so you can style your posts to gain even more attention for your agency!

The World of Communities. If I had to pick just one feature of Google+ as the most valuable, it would hands down be Communities. Why? It allows us agencies to target market. Yes, target each and everyone we put into the communities we have developed. It’s more marketing friendly, which allows us to bring in a higher ROI because of it.

Become an active participant in communities related to what your agency is trying to sell or that they specialize in. The fastest way to gain new followers and get exposure to your agencies content is through Communities. Comment on and +1 other people’s posts that you find interesting and contribute your own posts. There is a huge amount of engagement going on in Communities and there is no reason why your insurance agency should be excluded. Sitting back will not bring in the  ROI that you and your agency need. Dive deep into the communities and add interesting content.

The more exposure that your agency receives, the better that your agency can become.  I’m not the person who will argue that you should stop using Facebook or any other social network, but you should definitely take Google+ seriously and make it a real part of your agencies marketing strategy.